The Union of Egyptian Writers announced Naser Al-Din Al-Assad as the winner of the Naguib Mahfouz prize for Arab Writers. The $10,000 prize is dedicated to non-Egyptian Arab authors. The judging committee was headed by the critic Mohamed Abdel-Motelleb and included renown author Bahaa Taher, union head Mohamed Salmawy and head of the prizes section in the Union, Medhat El-Gayyar.
Salmawy explained that this prestigious prize reflects the Egyptian role in Arab literature arena, since the prize bears the name of the Egyptian Nobel Laureate Naguib Mahfouz coupled with the fact that it is given to an Arab author.
The prize will be handed at the union’s annual conference opening on 16 and 17 July at the historical location, Salah Eddin Palace, and will be honored by the presence of PM Essam Sharaf.
Naser Al-Din Al-Assad was born in 1922 and received his education until he earned his PhD at Cairo University in 1955. He established the Jordanian University and was its president from 1962 - 1968. He then became an ambassador to Jordan in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from 1977 - 1978.
His most famous book, Sources of Jahili Poetry, is considered a reference for the poetry before Prophet Mohammed’s time and is the basis of Al-Assad's doctoral thesis that was supervised by Shawky Deif. He is considered the last surviving students of Taha Hussein, a legacy in Arab literature.
This is the first time the award has given to a Jordanian author. It was previously received by Syrian author, Hanna Mina; Palestinian poet, Sameeh Kassem; Sudanese-Libyan poet, Mohamed Al-Fitory and Moroccan author, Bensalem Hemmich.